MARSEILLE, France (AP) -- French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pushed Monday for a summit of major economic powers to coordinate a response to the global financial crisis.
During an EU-India summit, Sarkozy said the talks among national leaders would aim to put in place the foundations of a new international financial system.
"India is clearly conscious that it risks being affected by the crisis that began in the United States," said Sarkozy, whose country currently holds the EU presidency.
Sarkozy, who floated the idea of a global summit in a speech last week before the U.N. General Assembly, said Europe's four main economic powers were to meet in Paris the coming days to prepare for a larger summit, which he said could be held in a matter of weeks. He said he expects France, Germany, Britain and Italy to develop a series of concrete proposals to be put on the table at a larger summit.
A joint statement issued during the meeting in the Mediterranean port city of Marseille said Singh and Sarkozy "agreed that a well-prepared international summit be convened to consider this issue (of the global economy) before the end of the year."
The French leader said Monday's talks, which included European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, also touched on the issue of civilian nuclear cooperation between the EU and India.
France, which relies heavily on nuclear power and is a major exporter of nuclear technology, is expected to sign a deal that would allow it to provide nuclear material to India.
Both leaders said they expected to discuss the deal at bilateral talks in Paris on Tuesday but declined to provide any further details.
Sarkozy underscored the need to help India's push to increase its reliance on nuclear power.
"I don't understand how we can say to our Indian friends, 'Participate in the fight against global warming, but without civilian nuclear energy,' which we know is the cleanest," he said.
India has refused to sign nonproliferation agreements and has faced a nuclear trade ban since its first atomic test in 1974. The 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group of countries that supply nuclear material and technology agreed earlier this month to lift the ban on civilian nuclear trade with India.
French diplomatic officials have said France hopes to compete with the U.S., Japan and Russia for contracts to build 40 to 50 new reactors in India in the coming decades.
Last Saturday, the United States' House of Representatives passed a pact that would allow the U.S. to provide nuclear materials to India. The Senate is expected to vote on the deal later this week.